Workers spend a third of their lifetime at work so it’s a good thing workplaces are a lot more like our homes now with break out zones for time out and socialisation. These zones are set up for relaxation, and de-stressing, so they often include indoor games and activities like table soccer. The theory goes if your worker spends more time at work they’ll produce more. A byproduct is time spent with colleagues can turn into lifetime friendships away from the office which can be a good thing for the business. If your workers enjoy being at work they will stay there for more hours in the day. The flip-side to that wonderful outcome is having to also spend lots of time with ‘toxic co-workers’. These individuals may be bullies, and leave some of your employees mentally drained and it’s not only affecting the odd one or two people but the entire team. Toxic staff do not just limit your business productivity but also it’s morale and perception in the marketplace so hiring new staff becomes a whole lot harder.
How do you know if your worker is toxic
1. He undermines everyone, to gain the upper ground
2. He doesn’t respect coworker’ ideas or input and implies their ideas are his own
3. He is a hypocrite, telling on his peers for action also he engages in
4. He puts himself before anyone else and the company.
5. He is negative in nature and makes fun of people in an insulting and depreciating way.
Surveys and studies on employee management show how important team dynamics are in organizations. A toxic employee in the mix can not only put a strain on the dynamics of a team but also impact on the confidence of your high potential employees who may either leave your company or just not reach their potential so dealing with a ‘bad apple’ so to speak, before it infects and ruins the lot is fundamental to the productivity and ongoing success of the business.
How to deal with your toxic-staffer
1. Have an honest and frank discussion with the worker
Leaders step up in these situations, and follow the company procedure for dealing with bad behaviour. The person causing mayhem maybe doing it deliberately and therefore not mend his/her ways or without a leader’s input. They may however respect hierarchy so a leader can have a positive impact on them when they know what their doing won’t be tolerated. Toxic nature is learned and carried into adult life if it’s not been dealt with in their earlier life i.e. it needs to be picked up at school ideally before university. If this hasn’t happened then the onus is on the business leader to set and police the ground rules.
2. Hold firm and discipline
Know what the rules of engagement are when dealing with bad behaviour and hold firm. Letting the person off the hook so to speak without punishment and you risk encouraging the toxic co-worker to carry and run riot with all they come into contact with. Create their boundaries and protect them. When they’re breached, make sure the disciplinary action is carried out and documented as required by the business.
3. Focus on your business and its goals
Remember what you’re here for, why you’re in business and keep the focus on it’s success and the goals to achieve it. Employee management is part of running a business and while you may not be a natural people person take a course, engage personnel consultants and if you can hire an HR manager to take over the day to day management of your staff so you can focus on the goals of the business and do what you’re really good at.
Dealing with a toxic co-worker is certainly not an easy task, it draining at best and requires diplomacy. The best way forward is to remove the action and if not the person so your team can reach their potential so your business do likewise. Well crafted break out zones will encourage social activity among workers and this may be just what your toxic worker was seeking all along – to be part of the team!
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